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New Zealand itinerary 7 days (1 week) top sights, attractions

A whistle stop, one week New Zealand holiday. The top sights are the Southern Alps, Rotorua’s unique volcanic activity, Maori cultural activities and a chance to find a unique gift that reflects your trip down under. The journey starts in Auckland. Spend a day discovering the best places to visit from Hauraki Gulf wildlife or explore cultural hotspots and grab a dose of fresh air. We’ve even flagged an Auckland wine trail for vineyard enthusiasts. Rotorua, invites visitors to soak away cares in a warm thermal hot pool or enjoy a canopy twilight walk among towering Californian redwoods. Christchurch, South Island top picks are galleries, museums, cafes and street markets to explore via a vintage tram. Queenstown / Arrowtown is a sophisticated host where outstanding scenery, adventures and heritage trails are on offer. Places to visit range from Auckland, at the top of the North Island to Queenstown, the vibrant tourist town in the South Island, New Zealand.


The trip is designed to avoid the use of a rental car. It’s tiring to drive in a country you are unfamiliar with. Let’s get you out and about easily with handy tips…

Trip Overview

Aotearoa NZ, road trip


Year Round



Check city travel guides for details for each destination

Duration: 7 days
Start Auckland
Finish Queenstown / Auckland


  • Auckland is New Zealand on a plate
  • Rotorua volcanic marvel, hot pools and adventures
  • Christchurch is fun, a repurposed city recovering from a devastating earthquake
  • Queenstown scenery, heritage and adventures

Arrive into Auckland — Depart home from Queenstown / Auckland

DAY 1-2

Auckland Highlights

Asian girl traveling Auckland, New Zealand

A day finding your NZ time zone balance while exploring outdoors, finding unique wildlife and the glorious Hauraki Gulf. For heritage buffs there is an opportunity to immerse yourself in Auckland War Memorial Museum attractions, an ethnographic 19th century village (Howick) or wander through the historic seaside village of Devonport. Families have plenty to keep the kids entertained with SeaWorld and the convenience of a hop on and hop off bus stopping at top sights. Adventure is simply a jump away off the SkyTower attached to a bungy rope … and there is more …

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Auckland (all day city and countryside exploration)

Devonport historic northhead gun emplacements, New Zealand
Auckland's North Shore from North Head Historic Reserve, Devonport

Heritage buffs

  • National War Memorial Museum ( 2 hours), Auckland Art Gallery (2 hours) lunch in one of the many city cafes. Afternoon Howick Historical Village
  • Afternoon ferry to Devonport / lunch in cafes, wander heritage Devonport and visit Naval Museum

For further information check out Auckland top heritage sites and places of interest.

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DAY 3-4

Rotorua (One night)

The Bathhouse, one of attractive landmark of Rotorua city, New Zealand. The another name of bathhouse is Rotorua museum.
The Bathhouse, Rotorua

Fly to Rotorua, if you want to drive it is likely half a day driving and is not recommended for a one week itinerary. Fly Air New Zealand.

Day 3 – mid morning arrival

Highlights from redwood forest walk to Kuirau public park geothermal displays. The classic spa town with natural geothermal mineral water to soak away the cares of the world. Therapeutic mud to pamper the skin and restore your glow. Extraordinary natural displays of geotectonic energy from boiling mud pools to sheets of steaming pink fused water coating hillsides a delicate pink.

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DAY 4-5

Christchurch (2 nights)


Perhaps your flights give you enough time to squeeze in a final hot pool experience. Allow up to 3 hours for travel to Rotorua airport – the flight – arrival in Christchurch.

Christchurch, Canterbury, visitors will discover a repurposed city with exciting contemporary architecture alongside restored heritage buildings. Find how the Avon River brings its natural beauty into the urban landscape. Explore a vibrant, transformative street culture with murals and public sculptures.

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Christchurch (All day)

Christchurch Art Centre, New Zealand
Christchurch Art Centre

Check out the top nine attractions in Christchurch and get ready for serious fun exploring Christchurch. There are a wealth of attractions either accessible on the vintage tram or the Christchurch hop on and hop off bus.

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DAY 6-7 Queenstown (2 nights)
Cecil Peak a mountain range across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown, New Zealand
Cecil Peak a mountain range across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown

Southern Alps, beautiful Lake Wakatipu and majestic mountains. Queenstown offers adrenaline rush white knuckle activities, vineyards and sophisticated award winning restaurants and cafes for a spot of gift shopping. Or two days exploring the crystal deep blue lakes and alpine scenery, perhaps encountering New Zealand’s alpine cheeky parrot, the Kea.  Finish your top to bottom of New Zealand with a promise to return.

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